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Conquer Craving Challenges

This may be the season to be jolly but it is also the season for cravings.  One rationalization that I’ve used in the past is “It only comes around once a year.”  Does that sound familiar?  Just because it is the holidays doesn’t mean we have to indulge cravings to compromise the progress we’ve made the other 10 months of the year.  We can conquer those cravings.

The way you respond to food cravings just might make or break your success at weight loss and maintenance. Veering away from your eating plan occasionally will not be earth-shattering, but if you make a habit of giving in to your eating impulses, your moments of weakness will certainly catch up with you.  Know yourself and your patterns.  If one side step will trigger a two month holiday binge, hold on tight and keep following the healthy routine you’ve developed for youself. 

To be proactive before those cravings are right in your face, here’s some tools.  Use these tools  to put into your weight loss toolbox to continue your strong foundation of a healthy lifestyle.  

  1. The craving will pass.  
    It may not feel like it but you can simply wait out a craving. Make it a game, who is stronger – you or the craving?  Sometimes we may even mistake a craving for actual hunger or thirst.   Playing the waiting game will help you distinguish between the two. If you still want something 20 minutes later, chances are you really are hungry.   If you allow yourself a little time to take a pause before giving in, you may find the craving will disappear altogether.  Distract yourself by getting your mind on something else: take a walk, write in your journal, play a game, turn on music and dance, call a friend. You may be pleasantly surprised to find time has passed and the craving has subsided.
  2. Drink it in.
    A glass of water, that is. While some suggest this is another method of “stalling” like the wait-it-out method above, you may find that drinking water satisfies your craving in and your appetite.   Many times we interpret cravings for hunger when, in fact, we are thirsty.  Listen to your body as it is telling you something.  Don’t jump the gun and assume it is for food.  Try drinking water, or flavored non-sugar water, and it may quench that craving.
  3. IF you give in… compromise for a taste – not trigger.
    The bad thing about cravings is that it can flip a switch and turn into an all-out binge.  IF (big IF) you give in to the craving, make a compromise with yourself and not allow the taste to flip your trigger.  Don’t be impulsive; rather plan to have a taste and move on.  Keep the trigger switch in the “off” position.  When you act impulsively you have lost some control. Which means you probably lose control of how much you eat, too. Take a moment to think about what you are doing. Try putting some mindful eating techniques to use.   If you decide to taste, do it on a smaller scale.  Never sit down with an entire carton of ice cream or a whole bag of chips. Take out a taste or small serving and put the rest away.  After the first couple of bites, you usually stop tasting the item.  By portioning a compromise of a mere taste, if the food is not already in your hands, you probably won’t go back for more.

Remember that you are in charge of your choices when it comes to cravings.  “This too shall pass” is an important mantra to self-talk your way to conquering a craving challenge.

All the best,

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